Alabama Football Update
By Hunter Ford
Nick Saban says his Alabama Crimson Tide needs to regroup and work harder on fundamentals after a close win against Mississippi State.
He said his team found out it could be “vulnerable” when it doesn’t “do the little things right.”
“We need to do a better job as coaches, getting players ready to do those things,” Saban said. “They can be taken advantage of when they don’t do the little things right.”
Saban said he would prefer not to have close games, but saw some positives in the 20-7 win. Specifically, Saban said playing a close game forced the Tide to “finish”strong and make plays in crucial situations to preserve the victory.
“It’s important for the players to refocus on the vision of what they want to accomplish as a team,” he said. “They need to go out and work every day in practice to get it all perfected, so that we get to the game we have confidence in our ability to execute.”
Saban took some jabs at the media, especially some media members who, after the Mississippi State game, said they thought a Bulldog defender was out-of-bounds on an interception.
“I would have wasted a timeout trying to do what you guys do,” he said. He went on to say that he has assistants in the booth to help him with those decisions, and that he had asked the referee if the call would be reviewed. “Where y’all (media) get your information, I don’t know.”
He paused and laughed before continuing. “I’m sorry, I Iost my train of thought.”
Saban said some of the Tide’s turnovers were the result of “guys trying to make more out of a play than is really there.” He said one of AJ McCarron’s interceptions came when McCarron was scrambling and threw an off-balance pass.
“I think AJ’s the first person to tell you he shouldn’t have tried to make that play, based on the pressure,” Saban said.
Saban praised senior offensive lineman Anthony Steen for his quiet leadership, and had praise for the entire senior class. He reminded fans that this Saturday’s game against Chattanooga is Senior Day.
Saban said it would mean a lot to the coaches, to him, and to the players and their families, if fans would come to the game, “a little early, and show support and appreciation for what these guys have done the last four or five years.”
Asked if it was an emotional time for him, Saban said it was.
“I can’t believe how fast it goes by. When I shake hands with these guys, it seems like I was in their house (recruiting) yesterday. But there’s always a group of new guys and…you know…challenges, that are welcomed.”
Asked about McCarron’s relationship with senior receivers Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell, Saban said the group has “grown up together.”
He praised Norwood and Bell for their dedication to fundamentals, saying they “do what they are supposed to do and do it fast.”
“When guys try to ad lib in the passing game…that’s when you get stuck and have nowhere to throw the ball.”
Saban said young receivers who might be listening should take note. He said McCarron is not thinking about who his friends are when he’s playing quarterback.
“If you want the ball…and most receivers do…do what you are supposed to do.”
Alabama Football Injuries
Tight end Brian Vogler is listed day-to-day with a sprained ankle. Tight end O.J. Howard and running back T.J. Yeldon are “nicked” but should be ready to play.
Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, is not expected to play again this season, according to Saban. Tomlinson was hurt earlier in the season.
Asked about Yeldon being seen wearing a protective boot, Saban said it is a common precaution and Yeldon is expected to play Saturday.
“If you have a corn on your toe, we’ll put a boot on it,” Saban said. He said it is a protective measure that helps prevent swelling, among other things. “We’ve had guys in boots two hours before a game.”